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What I'm writing now...

I just started writing what will hopefully turn into a new book. I finished my last one, Neighborhood Watch, in April and that one is now in the copyediting stage.

I liken Neighborhood Watch to The Stepford Wives or Little Fires Everywhere, where the town of Ridgeport has a rigid set of rules and in order to belong, you must follow them...or else. I'm most proud of that book and am eager to see it through to completion. The one that I am currently working on is a collection of short stories that are based on true events.

One of the poems I wrote in my first book, 20 Something, called "Emajanation Street," was based on a true story and is a horrific and depressing tale that follows the life of an elderly woman in a small town. I thought that I could build these stories around these characters and situations I knew and already have about five stories from these premises.

I've been researching magazines to submit these works to. As a shot in the dark, I sent one of the stories to The New Yorker, so we'll see what comes of that. But to my surprise, there are still a whole host of magazines that publish short stories for money. If you're a writer, all you need to do is Google "How to submit my short stories to magazines" and you'll get a whole host of links that will help you. I found that was particularly helpful. There are also sites that are more geared toward entry-level submissions such as They'll help you find mags that will hopefully get you started in print.

Not all magazines pay well or even pay at all. I found that some, like The Sun Magazine, may offer as much as $2,000 per short story while some offer nothing but will advertise your work on their social media site. But they all have different deadlines and submission requirements. Some are not accepting submissions currently and some require different word lengths.

I recall reading that when Stephen King started out he first got his work published in magazines before going on to books. In his short story book Everything's Eventual, which contains the famous short story "1408," he writes in his intro about how the short story is almost a dying art. It is almost a dying art, but obviously there is still a market for it or there wouldn't be magazines publishing them.

It's exciting to take on a new and different venture. I'm currently at 17,000 words in the short story book, which isn't much, but it's the start of a new and exciting project. I've written a book of poetry, a spiritual guide book, three novels, and even a children's book, but I've never come out with a book of short stories. Writing in different mediums and from different perspectives helps you to grow as a writer.

Being able to write a snapshot of a story that runs anywhere from 1,000 to 15,000 words is not always the easiest to do. You want to be able to tell a story in a concise manner while flushing out characters but also wrapping up a plot in a relatively short time span. It gives me a new appreciation for all the great short storytellers that I've read over the years. But it's a challenge, and challenges are fun, and I can't wait to see what comes of this.

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